WASHINGTON - Plans to clear a homeless encampment in D.C.'s NoMa neighborhood were put on hold Monday after a city crew using a small bulldozer attempted to move a tent with a man still inside.
D.C. Fire said the man was transported to the hospital with minor injuries.
It happened in the afternoon as crews were clearing homeless camps in the NoMa neighborhood on M and L streets Northeast.
In a statement Monday night, D.C. Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Wayne Turnage said in part: "Unfortunately, despite outreach staff’s multiple checks, there was an incident during the engagement where a Bobcat temporarily lifted a tent that, unbeknown to us, a resident was still inside."
He said the man had no visible injuries, but the decision was made to halt operations for the day.
The city is clearing homeless camps as part of a pilot program that aims to get people into housing.
At least one D.C. Council member said Monday she wants Turnage to take a second look at plans.
On Twitter, council member Brianne Nadeau wrote in part: "while I support funding housing solutions for our unhoused neighbors, as evidenced by the major investments I’ve fought for to help end homelessness, I continue to have concerns about the pilot program. I’ve expressed my concerns directly to Deputy Mayor Turnage and suggested we immediately revisit the protocols for the pilot."
Council member Charles Allen told FOX 5 in a statement: "We should be celebrating people moving off the street into apartments, but what happened today was completely unacceptable."
Montrell Williams, a man experiencing homelessness, said he knew the man who was inside the tent and couldn’t believe city crews were so careless.
"Their job is to what? Check the tents," said Williams. "But nobody checked to see if he was inside the tent. They just ran over him."
Williams said he is among those trying to get a voucher for city housing.
Turnage said as of Monday, "our Coordinated Assistance and Resources for Encampments (C.A.R.E pilot) program has facilitated housing leases for up 22 participants and an additional 8 participants are in the process of moving into housing in the coming days."